An African Network for Learning Analytics Research


Background

As African higher education becomes increasingly digitised and datafied, higher education institutions will have access to not only more student data, but also  a greater variety and granularity of data, creating opportunities to utilise the data for a greater understanding of student learning, more appropriate and timely student support, and more efficient planning and resource allocation. There is ample evidence that learning analytics can, inter alia, help faculty and instructional designers to develop more responsive learning and teaching experiences, and help the timely identification of students who may be at risk of failing or dropping out. Despite the fact that higher education institutions have the legal mandate to collect, analyse and use student data to improve students’ learning and ensure institutional sustainability, there are increasing concerns about the scope of data collection, the transparency of the collection and analysis processes and who have access to the collected data and who the data are shared with.

These concerns are further exacerbated by the reality that not many African higher education institutions have the necessary digital infrastructure and/or expertise to develop homegrown learning management and analytical systems and are, as such, easy prey for international commercial and venture-capital companies that offer African higher education institutions one-stop solutions. Africa is, in many respects, a new frontier for educational technology venture capital and expansion, and many authors warn of a recolonisation of Africa.

Paul Prinsloo (University of South Africa) and Rogers Kaliisa (University of Oslo, Norway) are both members of the Executive of the Society of Learning Analytics (SoLAR) and have published several articles on learning analytics on the African continent, and are expanding potential collaborations with other researchers across the African continent. [See CVs at the end of this Call]. 

Invitation

We would like to invite individuals who are interested to join a network of African scholars, policy makers and researchers with an interest in learning analytics to  complete a short expression of interest available here.

We commit to not sharing your contact details and/or personal information with anyone without your explicit permission.

Compiling a list of interested individuals and their affiliations, will allow us a sense of the scope for proceeding towards the establishment of an African Network for Learning Analytics Research (ANLAR). We will provide everyone who provided us with their contact details an update on the number of individuals who expressed interest in joining such a network.  

Next steps:

  • Register ANLAR as a Special Interest Group (SIG) with SoLAR.
  • Arrange meetings with interested individuals to explore the potential for collaboration in creating institutional awareness regarding the potential and issues of concern in learning analytics.
  • Applying for international research funding for collaborative research projects.
  • Sharing of scholarly resources, opportunities. 

Short CVs for  Paul and Rogers

Paul Prinsloo is a Research Professor in Open and Distance Learning (ODL) in the Department of Business Management, College of Economic and Management Sciences, University of South Africa (Unisa). He is a Visiting Professor at the Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg, Germany, a Research Associate for Contact North I Contact Nord (Canada) and a Fellow of the European Distance and E-Learning Network (EDEN), and serves on the Executive Committee of the Society of Learning Analytics and several editorial boards. In the South African context Paul has a B3 research rating  confirming his considerable international reputation for the high quality and impact of his research outputs.. Paul is an internationally recognised speaker, scholar and researcher and has published numerous articles in the fields of teaching and learning, student success in distance education contexts, the ethical collection, analysis and use of student data in learning analytics, and (digital) identities. 

He blogs at https://opendistanceteachingandlearning.wordpress.com/ and his Twitter alias is @14prinsp

More info at: https://www.unisa.ac.za/sites/corporate/default/Colleges/Economic-and-Management-Sciences/Schools,-departments,-bureau,-centres-&-institutes/School-of-Management-Sciences/Department-of-Business-Management/Staff-members/Prof-P-Prinsloo and Google Scholarhttps://scholar.google.ca/citations?user=eVosrdwAAAAJ&hl=en

Rogers Kaliisa is a Doctoral Research Fellow in Learning Analytics at the Department of Education, University of Oslo, Norway. His doctoral research focuses on using learning analytics, and in particular, learning analytics dashboards as a tool to support teachers in making data-informed learning design (LD) decisions in blended learning environments. He is also interested in mobile learning, virtual reality and use of multi modal learning analytics to support collaborative learning in co-located settings. His research utilizes networked approaches (e.g. social and epistemic network analysis) and automated discourse analysis to make sense of students’ data generated from online learning environments and how it relates to teachers’ intended pedagogical objectives. He currently serves on the executive committee of the Society of Learning Analytics Research (SoLAR) (elected as a student member) and co-leads SoLAR’s special interest working group. .

More info at:  https://www.uv.uio.no/iped/english/people/aca/rogerska/  and Google scholar: https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C5&q=rogers+kaliisa&oq=

About opendistanceteachingandlearning

Research professor in Open Distance and E-Learning (ODeL) at the University of South Africa (Unisa). Interested in teaching and learning in networked and open distance and e-learning environments. I blog in my personal capacity and the views expressed in the blog does not reflect or represent the views of my employer, the University of South Africa (Unisa).
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